This day comes around every year, and every year it makes me nostalgic for kid’s books, summers rolling in the grass, and a strong sense of discomfort. Seems a strange combination, no?
Today is March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Every year on this day, I read The Lorax, and every year that book and what it stands for becomes more important to me.
I’ll try not to spend time re-typing it, or quoting a ton of it, except for the ending:
“That was long, long ago.
But each day since that day
I’ve sat here and worried and worried away.
Through the years, while my buildings
have fallen apart,
I’ve worried about it
with all of my heart.
“But now,” says the Once-ler,
“Now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
Catch!” calls the Once-ler.
He lets something fall.
“It’s a Truffula Seed.
It’s the last one of all!
You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back.”
I cannot read that without being filled with fear…and hope. Today, especially today, after our -ah-interesting Super Tuesday, the Lorax’s message screams to me. Yes, I know that Dr. Seuss was primarily talking about deforestation, preaching a preservation message, railing against consumerism, but every year, this passage speaks to a different place in my life.
Sometimes it’s about our natural resources: we are soon to be in dire straits in the energy and climate discussion.
Sometimes it’s about relationships: we forget to nourish one another quite often.
Sometimes it’s about faith: the seeds of truth should be planted and nourished, helped to grow in love and mercy, and flourish.
Sometimes…like this year…it’s a little bit of everything: our environment is in trouble, our relationships are struggling, our integrity as a people is failing…
It’s no wonder the Lorax lifted himself up by the seat of his pants.
It’s no wonder the Once-ler hides in his Lerkim on top of his store.
It’s no wonder our culture wants more, more, more!
Part of me wants to run away with the Lorax,
to disappear into the air with one sad, backwards glance.
But. (That’s my favorite word, “but,” there’s so much potential, so much hope in that one little word.)
But, I can’t. I can’t just leave.
While I identify with the Lorax, and speak for the trees,
I can’t just leave, because
I’m also in charge of the last Truffula seeds.
So are you, and you, and you!
Whether it’s nature, or faith, or people, or space,
It’s up to us to improve this place.
We use what we have,
and learn what we don’t.
and hope that one day…
the Lorax, he won’t:
won’t look at us with those sad, oldish eyes,
won’t look at us in a way we’re despised,
instead he and his friends,
they’ll come back.